Living with PCOS

PCOS affects 10% of women in their childbearing years, leaving them to struggle with the effects of hormonal imbalances and metabolic issues, which can wreak havoc internally and externally. While there’s no cure for polycystic ovary syndrome, there are some highly effective management techniques that can take the teeth out of this disruptive health condition.

At Hayes Endocrine and Diabetes Center, under the experienced guidance of Dr. Andrea Hayes, our team specializes in hormonal and metabolic diseases, helping patients in Nashville, Tennessee better balance their health. And when it comes to living with PCOS, we’ve been able to help women improve their quality of life through targeted treatments and a few lifestyle changes. Let’s take a look.

PCOS 101

To get started, let’s quickly review what PCOS is and how it manifests itself.

PCOS is a condition in which your hormones are out of balance. A woman’s health is governed, in no small way, by their reproductive hormones — namely estrogen and progesterone. But women also produce a small amount of androgens, which are considered “male hormones.” With PCOS, your reproductive hormone levels are skewed, leading to higher levels of androgens which prevent the proper release of eggs during ovulation. In addition, cysts tend to develop on your ovaries, hence the name.

PCOS is also linked with insulin resistance, the hormone that regulates the levels of glucose in your blood. Given enough time and improper management, this resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes.

The primary symptoms of PCOS are tied to irregular hormonal levels and include:

As you can see by this list, the effects of PCOS are both internal and external, and they therefore typically require a multi-pronged treatment effort.

Restoring balance

One of the first lines of defense when it comes to treating PCOS is to restore the balance in your reproductive hormones. To do this, we rely on hormonal birth control methods for estrogen and progesterone management, as well as medications to reduce the level of androgens.

We’ve also had great success with prescribing a 10- to 14-day course of progestin therapy every month or two. 

Of course, these treatments also prevent pregnancy, so if pregnancy is your goal, let us know, and we will gladly refer you to a fertility specialist.

Addressing the insulin resistance (and weight gain)

One of our primary objectives when it comes to managing your PCOS is to prevent your insulin resistance from crossing over into type 2 diabetes. One of the best ways to do this is through weight-loss programs that help your body better manage the sugars in your bloodstream. And we tailor such programs to your unique needs.

Tackling the outward symptoms

We wish there was a magic bullet to prevent hair growth where you don’t want it and preserve hair you do want but isn’t there. The hormonal therapies may help offset some of the unwanted side effects when it comes to hair growth, hair loss, and acne, but we usually have to treat each of these separately.

Living with PCOS can be challenging, but with a great management program in place, you can greatly offset the impact of the disease. To get started, please contact us at (615) 434-6569 or request an appointment using our online scheduling tool.

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